I'm to the point that I can't put it off much longer. The rearend in my '21 has been apart and back together before I bought the car. The driveshaft, u-joint and pinion gear are new but not installed. The rearend is only attached to the car by the leaf spring so removal will not be a big ordeal, I hope. I can see that the thrust washer on the passenger side is not babbit. Everything inside appears to be clean and dry (no lube). My plan is , after removal from the car, to split the housings and have a look at the other thrust washer and all the bearings. If all that looks good, hopefully new, I won't need to disassemble the differential right? I can check everything without removing the sleeves, can't I? I have a gasket set for reassembly. Trying to plan ahead. Thanks.
Tommy, the end play of the axles is another thing to check for. You'll want to at least have the differential out of the housings and verify that there's no end play. They should rotate with maybe a little drag, but neither should be able to move in and out. Then check diameter of both the inner and outer portions of the axles where they ride in the bearings, along with the bearings themselves.
I'd also double check that the differential bolts are tight and cotter-pinned (there are 3). While you have the housings out, make sure your thrust plate pins are in good shape, on the differential as well.
Then you'll want to set your ring and pinion clearance. Highly recommend the fun projects pinion bearing kit. Makes that super easy. I prefer to set the pinion depth first so that you get correct mesh of the gears, then use the brass thrust washer on the driver's side housing to correctly set the lash. This means rebuilding the drive shaft at the same time.
When you go to put rear end back together double check your end play again. If the axles are snug in the differential, you'll be checking that the differential is now correct in the housings. It should have a little drag, not just spin freely. You should be able to move the ring gear with your thumb with a little effort. You set this clearance with the thickness of the passenger side thrust washer. When doing the fit, don't use a gasket between the housings, but when doing final assembly use a gasket and the clearance will be perfect.
I just rebuilt a Ruckstell rear end using this exact same principles and from the start it's been dead quiet and a dream to drive.
Something you wrote has me intrigued Tommy.....the fact that you can find out if you have Babbitt Thrust Washers without tearing down the whole rear end.
Since my car will only be used initially as a glorified golf cart to putt around the neighborhood and swap meets, as long as my thrust washers have been changed to bronze, I plan on lubing it up and leaving it alone.
If it needs a rebuild later when I really start driving it on the road, that's fine, but for now, less is more.
So my question is.....what's the least I have to do to get a look at the thrust washers?
I know that, with the driveshaft, housing, and "spool" not installed I can look into the opening and see (and touch)the passenger side thrust washer. Of course the ring gear is exposed as well. The drivers side thrust washer is hidden behind the ring gear. You would think that if someone changed one thrust washer they would change both, but some on here have found one new and one old babbit.
I've done whatever necessary to finish the restoration already started when I bought my car but I've been dreading the rearend portion of the job. Just have to do it and get it over with.
No need to dread it. Yes, it takes some time if you're a slowpoke like me, but it ain't rocket surgery. Just follow the axle book.
Thanks. Anything I need to watch for or do differently, not knowing what was done when the rearend was apart before? I'm hoping both thrust washers were updated to the brass ones. I don't want to damage any seals that might be new.
Steve, how about I bring the rearend to Kansas? Would you help me? Kidding of course, about coming to Kansas.
Just in case there are new seals in there, put tape over the key ways at the outer ends of the axle shafts and slather grease over it. That will eliminate the possibility of the key ways damaging the neoprene.
When I slide the housings off the diff and axles will the seals come out with the axles or stay in the housings?
Tommy the felt seals on mine stayed in the housings. I retrieved them later. I bought a round toilet type cleaning brush at a home store put a string on it to work it down in there with kerosene to clean out all the gunk. So far the most difficult part for me as a first timer has been recognizing what is wrong with it, what parts are worn and need replacing and botching my thrust pin replacement. I was a rocket scientist :-)
Cleaning is one thing I shouldn't have to do. The inside appears to be clean and dry. The outside has been painted. I hope the insides look as good as the outside.
The neoprene seals sit inboard of the Hyatt bearings, against the ends of the tubes. They stay with the housings.
For those cleaning out housings, a toilet brush wired to a long handle is helpful.
That box of rags on the bench is a must to.
Steve, where was that picture taken? Is that one of your shops?